The Rain mobile data network

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The Rain mobile network is a data-only network that provides uncapped data to South African consumers. It started as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which means it used cell towers and the cellular network technology of other network operators to service its clients on the network.

But with the advent of 5G technology rain sought to lead from the front by building up 5G network towers, hoping to complete over 1,500 5G towers by the end of 2020.

rain 4g SIM card. Source: rain.co.za

Rain, with lower case r

Sometimes stylized as the rain network, with a lower case “r”, was actually iBurst. Paul Harris, whose company Wireless Broadband Services (WBS) owned iBurst, and a consortium that included Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital essentially bought into WBS and rebranded it to rain.

In 2017 Willem Roos came over from OutSurance to be first its CEO, and in March 2021 Brandon Leigh had taken over the reins.

Rain mobile started providing its services to South Africans in 2018. Its aim was to cover the middle to lower-income household’s needs for 4G needs. It managed to eventually have more than 5,500 active live 4G sites that would cover more than 3 million households.

It featured its uncapped LTE product, the 4G 19 hours unlimited off-peak, which gave subscribers uncapped internet for R250 per month. The unlimited data could be used at what it called off-peak times, which were between 11 pm and 6 pm the following day. The peak hours were expected to be busy as most people would be home streaming TV and movies.

The Patrice Motsepe and Paul Harris-backed mobile-only data network gained customers thanks to the uncapped mobile data offer. South Africans who were out of range of fibre-to-the-home and didn’t want copper DSL had rain as a great option that allowed them to stream and binge-watch their favorite series using rain’s 4G uncapped mobile data.

Does Rain bring the blues?

There has been a flurry of complaints against Rain’s network, with customers complaining that it becomes slow or does not connect at all. Rain’s customer service is available on Twitter.com/rain, where it fields network questions all day.

Customers also mocked the network saying that when it rains Rain stops working:

Screenshot: Customers mocked the network saying that when it rains Rain stops working
Screenshot: Customers mocked the network saying that when it rains Rain stops working. Source: Twitter.com

The African Rainbow Capital chairperson, Mr. Patrice Motsepe, acknowledged that there were some network issues, blaming it on Rain’s own rapid growth over the covid-led demand for data. They made promises to increase their focus on customer service, mostly to improve the network through further expansion, and a much better customer experience.

But, we found that there are quite a lot of happy users. This is found on Takealot, with a review score of 4.3 out of 5 for customers who bought the 4G Rain SIM card from them:

Screenshot: Rain got a review score of 4.3 out of 5 for for its 4G Rain SIM card bought from takealot.
Screenshot: Rain got a review score of 4.3 out of 5 for for its 4G Rain SIM card bought from takealot. Source: takealot.com

Most of these customers appreciate the cheap uncapped data more than anything else. This shows that Rain’s mobile data products have real benefits to ordinary South Africans.

It’s raining 5G

The 5G network that Rain has been building since late 2019 is expanding rapidly, with small cities such as Potchefstroom even getting 5G coverage! By

It managed to build this network using non-standalone technology, which is possible with the current spectrum license it has, and continues to build more, to the advantage of South Africans who are moving their work/study lives online and working from home becomes the norm.

Huawei said it was also working alongside Rain to ensure that 5G network standards and best practices are followed, and, most crucially perhaps, that 5G home devices and cellphones are readily available in the South African market.

Rain’s mobile data products

On offer from South Africa’s data-only network is 5G mobile data for use at home, a 4G/LTE sim for home use, and 4G for phones for your more mobile data needs. Rain will give you a 5G router to use under its “free to use” terms.

Although we may have an issue of a speed limited 5G, we appreciate the uncapped month-to-month 5G products they have available. Read more on how Rain’s network works.

They have also made it easier to buy their SIM card. It is available to purchase from Clicks, Takealot, Pick n Pay, and other retailers.

Rain mobile contact details

Physical address

Green Point 1st floor, Cape Quarter Square, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point, 8001, Cape Town, South Africa

Rain customer service

081 610 1000
support@rain.co.za
Facebook.com/RainSouthAfrica/

twitter.com/RainSouthAfrica/

Moemedi Segoje

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